tv [untitled] January 30, 2012 4:30pm-5:00pm EST
issuance of driver's license aggregated by race that was one issue, that we cited in there, but not the only issue that was cited. >> i know these are specific to each one. but what would be matters that you would consider critical? that was obviously when you felt strongly enough to put in the letter, which is public, but which other ones for those of our states who are trying to meet the section requirements, what else would you consider to be important in the statistical information. >> we take a hole list listic -- ---the state has met its bushed in the absence of discriminatory plastics. as is the case with every submission, we will gather the entire legislative record to determine what were the contemporaneous statements that were made.
i will direct you to the village of arlington heights, the supreme court decision that outlines the factors that are looked at when you're considering whether there's a potential issue of discriminato discriminatory intent and we will, as you have seen in the south carolina context, we will be looking at all the data that the state looked at in making its determination, and then we will apply the facts to the law in any given case. every case is different, every submission is different. that's why we take that very fact specific approach. >> i'll stop because there are 49 others here. but when we looked at that information, and we did have the opportunity to go to afghanistan, along with the secretary of state from california, pennsylvania,
florida and indiana all went so we're very strong proponents of making sure that our military gets to vote. but that being said, we do not control the counties and when you say the states are responsible, that's correct and none of us are the state's leading official. the governor would be in that case. and where we have attempted to have working relationships with your organization in order to have problem counties do their work, it seems that we get blamed for that when, if you're going to hold the state specific, you should hold the governor specific or the individual counties. not those really people that are trying really hard to meet the act. and i can assure you that we have spent hours and untold days to make sure we meet the act. and when you have a county fail--when you hold the secretaries of state responsible
for something they're not legally able to do. so i would say if you're going to start with state specific you start with the governor. >> i appreciate that point and again, i also appreciate the situation and i noted the frustration from the plain language of the move act which says you're responsible and the frequent realities on the ground, i think there are something like 11,000 jurisdictions across the country, if you add them all up that admin strer elections. and congress in its wisdom made the judgment about who was accountable and we look forward to working with you and continuing to work with everyone around this table because we have a little bit of luxury and time now on the move act that was passed in '09 and had to pivot into implementation phase and now we have the benefit of that experience where we know, at least in part where some of the particular problems
concerned. we look forward to continuing the dialogue with you and your staff and anyone especially in this room so that we can hopefully prevent history from repeating itself to the extent that there were problems in a particular jurisdiction. >> the secretary had a couple of questions. secretary kovac and secretary gardner, maybe we could take them ina order. >> this is chris kovac of kansas. i have a -- of course the department of justice preclearance decisions like all executive branch actions are done by the supreme court and i don't want to get into your internal deliberations, but i am curious how you get around this one sentence in the crawford-marion board of directives, he said, in this one sentence, for most voter who is need them, the inconvenience of making a trip to the bureau of motor vehicles, gathering the
required documents and posing for a punish surely does not impact the right to vote. so i'm just trying to asession the department's decision, how can a -- if the burden is not of constitutional surface as justice stevens as held or the court has held. how could that difference in various voting categories be of legal significant under section 5 if the court has already ruled that this increase has no significance? >> we will be addressing that matter in the court proceedings and as i said, each case is fact specific. under section 5, the burden rests with the state. as you know, crawford was not a section 5 case and so we will undoubtedly have the conversation to which you are referring in court and i suspect that you and i may have an
honest and respectful but pretty serious difference of opinion. yes, sir. >> since 1952, puerto rico has had two districts. will we be having one member districts or keeping two districts. >> that's a question for you and the governor and i have spent a fair amount of time with the governor on another matter unrelated to voting so i would not feel comfortable opining on what i think will be a decision for the residents of the commonwealth. >> okay. >> were there any locations that you monitored in the 2010 election that were selected by random? >> by random? no. >> secretary mcdonough, do you
have a quick question? >> yes, following up on exchanges, i understand the back and forth about the statute that holds the state responsible, have you all or the administration considered changes the statute to hold the responsible election of the response to election authority responsible on the move? >> i think that would be up to congress and as you move forward, mr. secretary, whom i know pretty well from a prior life. >> what will the department and the administration think of it? >> i don't know, i'm reading from the testimony, the floor testimony on the bill, the move act does not, here's a quote from the congressional record, the move act does not in fact take military control of overseas voting out of the hands
of local officials, compliance continues to be the -- provisions of move will be enforced should enforcement by the department of justice become necessary. >> and in fairness, too, for instance in maryland, the state took responsibility just for that activity just to ensure, you know, we passed a law in the general assembly to avoid this, this is also an alternative because everybody i think has got right on their side here, they want to enforce the law, we want to comply with the law, but it's the mechanics of it. and one way or another, if we talk about it and resolve the mechanics, it might make the issue go away. >> again, i look forward to further conversations with all of you on that issue because i do think it is a big issue and we all have a shared interest in doing the right thing and we all have a job to do an i think that's what can bring us together.
>> quick question, we're trying to change our law in alaska to move our primary back, not because we can't make the deadline now, but we can't make the 45-day deadline if there is a challenge to a primary result. we may not be able to get it done this year, we'll see, but we don't have that many contestants in state wide races. i guess the question i v i'll be meeting with local election officials shortly. should we be -- i mean is it your view that this law now prevents a jurisdiction to have a runoff of a close election and that sort of thing? how are you dealing with that? and how are you dealing with that? >> the issue of runoff elections, they're preparing to resolve the issue of the and
applicability to the move act. enter so the question's open. >> the move act applies to federal elections. >> only federal elections? >> so that is a notable caveat. >> president chapman has made it very clear that we need to run on time so we will have one more question. >> if you would, it's our understanding that the department of justice has advanced amendments, could you give us your reasoning why it's necessary for you to advance those amendments and what the background is and why you are advancing them? >> we're advancing them in short to take a page from the lessons of 2010. we're happy to share all of them with you. the process has hardly begun,
and we any the amendments will make the enforcement of the move act that much better. and the reason we're sending them out now to everybody is that i suspect there will be viewpoint diversity and the point is not to wait until the 11th hour and do it when clock hasn't even started running yet so we can have that very open dialogue. and if you don't already have it, i will personally make sure that everybody in this room gets a copy of our proposals so that we can hopefully over the course and immediately set up a working group of sorts so we can get your feedback on what you like and don't like. i have never sent around a series of proposals that everyone liked 100%. and i suspect you have ideas that we haven't thought about. that could make it better and i suspect we have ideas that you will like and we have some ideas that you will not like.
so i would love to have that conversation. >> please join me in thanking assistant attorney general tom perez. >> quite obviously with a very closely watched presidential election upcoming, most of the chief elections officers will be working very closely with the major parties. we are pleased that general council and director of voter protection at the dnc has come back to the afternoon session here to join us. as state officials, we're particularly interested in hearing about voter outreach and engagement efforts by the dnc, we will also have a representative from the rnc and we are anxious to hear his role in voter protection.
>> i thank you secretary miller and thank you all for having us back this afternoon. as i did speak briefly this morning, i will endeavor to be fairly brief this afternoon as well. i do want to say that as we enter the 2012 election, we are facing new rules, many of which have been talked about here today, whether they involve photo id or voter registration, new rules happening in the states, many of these rules, we think the fact is that they will have a disproportionate affect on members of the voting public, who traditionally have been
disenfranchiseded. many of them, minorities, either racial or long minorities. to that end, our focus and our goal, one of them anyway, is to ensure that we have an elaborate education program so that states -- in states across the country, voters are fully aware of what the new rules are, how they comply with them, and i was in fact very much encouraged earlier in the earlier session today hearing the secretaries talk about work that you have going on in your respective states, to ensure that voters are aware of what's happening and able to comply. we hope that that will continue, and we hope that we will see notices going to voters who are likely to be affected.
one of the ways that i know states have done this and can do this, is to cross their dmv data bases with their voter registration databases and ensure that voter who is may not have the ids that are recognized are noticed that need has now -- has now come about and that they have an opportunity to do that. let me also just address two other points, one is, i think that our elections by and large have improveded. i think they have improved procedurally, with the rules, but also with an increase or an improvement in the machine and technologies that we use to run our elections.
i think there's also been improvement in participation rates and certainly over the last half century or so, a significant improvement in participation rates. and certainly we want those trends to continue. nonpartisan groups have found, as this is a nonpartisan group, have found that many of the laws being advanced or passed in many of your states are either unnecessary to secure the elections, or as i mentioned earlier, will have a greater impact on some voters, lesser on others, an overwhelming impact on minority voters and in many cases an overwhelming impact on our seniors. and so, i want to encourage that
we work together to be able to educate these voters, not just for 2012, but looking forward beyond 2012, i also hope that we can join together, look for ways to improve the voter registration process, in many of the states, the voter registration process is far behind other systems. for photo id, for example, where there's a requirement that you have photo id, it seems to me that it's unnecessary then to have a completely separate voter registration procession where people are required to go twice, once to register and second to get the id that they need. and so we have been in favor of election day registration as a compliment to the photo id process for those states that
have it. we remain in favor of and concerned about cuts to the early vote process in a number of states. we appreciate that not all states have early vote, but those that do, we have seen a tremendous increase in voter participation, over 2008, approximately 30% of all voters voted early in that cycle. so certainly for people who have work obligations, or whether they be child care or senior care obligations and may not have the flexibility to participate in that single day, an early vote remains critically important. and so with that, i will end there. i'm happy to take any questions, i'm certain that there is some disagreement with where we are from a policy standpoint on these questions. but i think that in the end we
are all looking to ensure that the voters have access and can participate and i hope we can work together to ensure that that occurs. thank you. >> thank you very much for being part of -- we're going to save the questions until we have the rnc representative and then we'll do the questions together. as you know, the rnc frequently has their former chair of the rules committee come address us and he was unable to be here today. he asked that christopher adams fill in for him. he was a former general council to the south carolina secretary of state and worked as an attorney in the vetti ivoting s of the department of justice. he has served on four different presidential campaigns on ballot issues. christopher can address some of the activities taking place in
the states this year, please join me in welcomiing >> i'm slowly shifting my way for the camera. thank you aum. i have the unenviable position of closing your day. there's three things i want to tell you about today that i think will characterize the 2012 election from my perspective that you probably haven't seen before from republicans, and i think you're going to see it and i think it's going to effect the work you do during the elections. very briefly the first one is that you will see an unprecedented social media outreach this year from the republican side na quite honestly was lacking in 2008. the pendulum has sort of swung. while my counterpart side was very good and effective at
social media, internet outreach in 2008, the other side let's just be frank was not. i think finally the republican side has caught up to this, and you're going to see a very aggressive effort in 2012 to use the internet in a way that frankly imitation is the best form of flattery, and that's the first thing i think you're going to see this year. but the second thing that is going to be different this year involves the move act, and 120 secretary perez noted was a warm-up year where everybody was sort of getting their sea legs. but one of the things that you'll see in 2012 is a lot of groups on the ground in the next few months registering military voters. there's concerted effort not only for move act enforcement, but for military voter
registration on military bases throughout the country, at outposts and towns such as for example fayetteville, north carolina where you have a very large military population. this, once again, has been largely ignored in past elections, those days, i think, are over with. this year you're going to see that. what does this mean for you? it means that you're going to see quite possibly influxes of registrations from groups you've not seen before. there's a group called the military voter protection project that exists primarying for registering military voters, and you may remember they brought a case in maryland last election involving -- it wasn't actually move akts case. it was a 14th amendment claim, but it looked like a move act case where ballots were mailed out that had state offices on it and not a federal office. it was brought in maryland by
the military voter protection project alleging the violation of the 14th amendment. the military voters were treated differently than in-state vote thaerz got to vote for sh but the military voters did not. you see an aggressive move act registration effort among military voters and their families. the third thing you see and the last thing you mention you haven't seen before is a very aggressive effort at section 8 enforcement of nvra. mr. perez spoke about section 7 enforcement, which, of course, is the welfare agency voter registration provisions, but there's only been one case essentially, united states versus missouri on section 8 enforcement regarding the cleansing and purging of voter rolls. i think that you're going to almost certainly see in this
election cycle very aggressive efforts by third-party groups perhaps with some political affiliation to bring cases against counties in most instances that are out of compliance with section 8 of nvra. there is a perception, not entirely divorced from reality, that many voter rolls in the country are corrupted with large numbers of dead and ineligible voters. secretary hoseman is not in the room, but counties in mississippi have upwards of 120 and 140% of voter registration that aren't allowed to vote. his office is aware of the problem and has fought to get something fixed. mississippi is not the only place there's a problem, and that's a situation a lot of folks on my side of the table view as an utterly intolerable situation heading into the election. the third thing i think you'll see this year is a very
aggressive effort to clean up the voter rolls in places where the voter rolls have problems. that's not to say that's a state problem. you heard throughout these are county problems that the states can't get solved. i think in large measure that's going to be the approach taken by the parties who bring these cases. hopefully because it's an nvra case in your state doesn't mean it deals with your job and what you're doing, but i think it's certainly something you will see happening this year very shortly. thank you. >> thank you both, gentlemen, for your presentation, and i know they're ready to field any questions that you may have. >> thank you, mr. secretary. i just had more of a comment than a question to address, a few of the things that
mr. crossly had talked about on especially being with reducing in-person early voting. i justment wanted to state for record we did that in georgia, we went from 41 days to 21. it included a mandatory saturday voting which he we haven't had before. the reason that the legislature took that up was because the counties were complaining about the cost of having to have three poll workers in the early voting locations. there was hardly anybody coming in those first two or three weeks, and the legislature listened to them. we had a very strong bipartisan vote in the house, and i think that's important for people to realize. i know as i campaigned around the state in many of our counties, a lot of the election boards, when we go into town and visit with elections office, you'd have the republican member and the democratic member of the election board there, and in
many counties they both supported reducing the number of in-person days. we still have -- you can vote 45 days before the election by mail. also on the photo i.d. law, we could spend a couple days debating that. we're working with an african-american legislator right now who wants to add college i.d.s for institutions that receive public money in georgia to the list of photo ids. the reason she wants to do that is is to help students at predominantly black colleges, and we are supporting her in her efforts on that, and hopefully we get that done this year. i thought it was important to hear those kind of stories that some of these things, especially on the in-person early voting has been bipartisan and support. >> echo those remarks. in colorado we define as
in-person poll voting at a polling location versus absentee ballots. in colorado we saw a huge drop-off in early voting, and that's in large part because we've seen a large increase in absentee voting by mail. so people who may have in the past showed up at a polling place early to vote instead of getting an absentee ballot. so in our nomenclature i hope you recognize when you say early voting, i look at it as polling place voting, and our data is directly opposite yours at least the view that early voting has increased, whereas it decreased at the poling place. absentee voting has grown. >> go ahead. >> i wanted to address both of these. one, i appreciate that and welcome the opportunities that states have made and may be making to increase access in terms of allowing additional
kinds of i.d.s to count. one of the things that we worked with states in promoting is written and signed affidavits by the voter. if for some reason a person happens to forget their i.d., that they can sign that they are who they say they are, and that they live at their home address, and that information can be used if it turns out there's any irregularity there. when we speak of early voting we do in fairness include in that a host of different kinds of votings and across different states some have in-person early voting and some have -- it's a mail-in process, but it's still called early voting in that state. so we use early voting as